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Langland, William: Piers Plowman

(1,273 words)

Author(s): Roger Ladd
William Langland's life is essentially undocumented aside from first-person material in the different versions of Piers Plowman, all believed to share an author. The name William Langland seems to appear in the B-version: '"I haue lyued in londe", quod I, "my name is Longe Wille"' (B.XV.152). The B-version further informs us that he had a wife, Kytte, and a daughter, Calote, and from the C-version we gather that he had a clerical education, may well have been in minor orders, but was not a beneficed priest or o…

Gower, John

(1,292 words)

Author(s): Roger Ladd
John Gower's life is not well-documented, and uncertainty remains concerning his profession prior to his retirement at the priory of St. Mary Overie (now Southwark Cathedral) in the late 1370s. He seems to have come from a gentry family with holdings in Kent and East Anglia; records of his life focus primarily on property deals, including the acquisition of the manor Aldington Septvauns in 1365. Gower appeared before the Staple Court during the litigation over the Septvauns purchase, which ultim…